Creative Kid College Coach

CKCC blog

Posts in Jobs in the creative arts
Jack Ma on Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
 
 Click the image to watch on the World Economic FaceBook page

Click the image to watch on the World Economic FaceBook page

 


We’ve written extensively on the benefits of an education in the arts. It was the subject of Harriet’s Dare 2B Digital talk in 2014, and it’s often the first conversation we have with students and their families. The question, “what kind of future do artists have?” is fraught with concerns about the fate of both art and work amidst the impact of advances in technology. If you’ve read our other posts, seen Harriet speak, or sat in a room with us for longer than 2 seconds, you probably know what we're about to say. 

An education in the arts teaches students invaluable skills: creative problem solving, collaboration, resourcefulness, leadership, resilience, empathy - to name a few.  These are vital skills that set creative students apart in a rapidly changing economy, and we’re not the only ones who think so. Proponents of an arts-based education exist in unlikely places. Perhaps most importantly, many jobs currently available to college graduates didn't exist 5 years ago, and more jobs and opportunities requiring new skills are being created across our international economies.

Last week at the World Economic Forum, Jack Ma, the founder of one of the largest tech companies in the world, fielded a question about how to deal with job losses due to automation. As the head of Alibaba, China’s answer to Amazon and a company that is making strides in AI, Mr. Ma has been a vocal source on the subject. But the way he answered was radical and unexpected.

“If we do not change the way we teach, 30 years from now we’ll be in trouble. The things we teach our children are things from the past 200 years - it’s knowledge-based. And we cannot teach our kids to compete with machines, they are smarter.”

Ma goes on to say that instead, we should be teaching kids values and skills that no machine can possess. Qualities like "independent thinking, teamwork, and care for others" will not just set students apart, they will ensure students can be valuable contributors to society in ways that make them irreplaceable. And how does Jack Ma think we can impart that kind of knowledge?

“I think we should teach our kids sports, music, painting - the arts - to make sure that they are different. Everything we teach should make them different from machines.”

We couldn’t agree more. It’s true that you can’t teach people to compete with robots, but you can expose them to disciplines that give them the skills to do what machines can’t. Luckily for us and the creative students we get to work with every day, there's almost no better way to learn those skills than through an arts-based education. 

To see Jack Ma’s full answer to the question, watch the unedited version of his interview below:

 
 
The Growth of the Creative Economy and a Changing Jobs Landscape

I am speaking this weekend at the Dare 2b Digital Conference here in Silicon Valley. My topic is: The Growth of the Creative Economy and a Changing Jobs Landscape. The growth of interdisciplinary degrees is proof that educators are looking closely at the benefits of a culture of learning where both right and left-brain thinking are encouraged. The happy result of blending a conceptual and technical education is a student ready to fill jobs new to our economy. As I have written previously, I believe that the skills that an arts-based degree develops are extremely valuable attributes in our changing work environment.

Interdisciplinary programs such as those offered through the BXA Program at Carnegie-Mellon, The Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts program at UC San Diego and the Computing and the Arts Program at Yale are evidence that colleges are looking to satisfy the demand for integrating a study of the arts with computer science and other diverse fields.

The reason graduates with creative degrees are highly sought after is that hiring managers understand the essential skills that these degrees engender. These attributes are the skills that a valuable employee exhibits:

  • Fearlessness
  • Communication
  • Analytic Skills
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership

The culture of collaboration in these interdisciplinary programs is a predominant characteristic. I am convinced that learning how to solve problems creatively will ultimately play a significant role in our ability to successfully compete in a global economy.  I am not alone in this opinion.  As Thomas Friedman wrote in a recent New York Times column, “Talent can come in so many different forms and be built in so in many non-traditional ways today, hiring officers have to be alive to every one….”

Will I get a good job after college?

This is a question that is often asked, by both parents and students, as they begin the journey of selecting where they will apply to college and what they will study. I have written before about why now, more than ever before, a degree in the visual or performing arts has in fact resulted in long-term career satisfaction. More colleges are acknowledging the challenge of offering their students the opportunity not to train for a job they think they want, but in fact to provide the necessary environment for the unintended consequences of a more flexible career path. Do you think the student with a B.A. in Design planned to get a job as an “interaction engineer” doing data visualization? What about the Director of Online Engagement in President Obama’s Office of Digital Strategy? I doubt she stated that as her career goal when entering college.

Consider the fact that the top six jobs today didn’t exist ten years ago. Educators like Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean of the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU agrees. She recently spoke at a conference “Three Million Stories – Understanding the Lives and Careers of America’s Arts Graduates” http://3millionstories.com. She urges educators to be mindful of changes in the job market that are reflected in our economy creating a need “for curriculum reform and a better understanding of what skills an arts degree develops.”

For more information on this topic, listen to an interview that I recently gave on “College Smart Radio” a program that gives advice regarding the road to college on 1220am KDOW, The Wall Street Business Network. I discussed the topic of the value of an arts degree with Beatice Schultz, CFP®, BSc, MSM. Beatrice is the founder of Westface College Planning and a co-founder of Westface Financial and Insurance Services.

Here is a link to the podcast: http://www.spreaker.com/user/collegesmartradio/college_coaching_for_the_creative_kid.

 

 

BFA, BM, BArch, MFA will these credentials be worth anything?

Time and again I am asked by nervous parents about the career opportunities their students will have if they pursue a major in the visual arts.  "But will they find a job when they graduate?" is a common lament.  I can talk about the students that I have worked with who have gone on to be the happiest group of college students I have known.  I can describe the myriad of creative internships and opportunities for growth that are a direct correlation to the relationships creative students form with their professors.  I can list the places that students I know are now working professionally. But, people like statistics.  And data.  And graphs.  So, I am happy to refer you to the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), a research effort led by Indiana and Vanderbilt Universities.  SNAAP surveyed over 13,000 graduates from 154 U.S. public and private college arts programs, conservatories and arts high schools.  These graduates have willingly responded to questions about access to jobs, satisfaction with their professions and the all important ability to support themselves doing something that they love.

Steven J. Tepper, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt University, writes in an article for the Huffington Post, "Arts graduates might not be rich, on average, but the vast majority is gainfully employed, piece together satisfying careers, and would go to art school again if given the choice."

So, for more detailed information about the valuable data that SNAAP has gathered, go to their website:  http://snaap.indiana.edu/snaapshot/ and see for yourself why a degree in the arts just might be the ticket to success and long-term career satisfaction.  Oh yes, and a job when you graduate!